After successful official visits to the State of Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Belgium, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and delegation returned to the capital, Monrovia, late Friday evening, November 29.
According to an Executive Mansion release, President Sirleaf, speaking to journalists upon arrival at the Roberts International Airport, said the trip, which was in the interest of the country and its people, was very successful.
Asked to comment on the rumors that circulated around Monrovia that she was dead, the Liberian leader smiled and said, "Maybe it's the second Jesus Christ that has resurrected from the dead." She assured all Liberians that she's well and ready to do the people's job entrusted to her as usual.
On Saturday, November 30, President Sirleaf joined Public Works Minister Antoinette Weeks and her team on a tour of infrastructure projects to be undertaken in Monrovia and its environs during this dry season.
These included the proposed ministerial complex near Peace Island in Congo Town; the A.B. Tolbert road project, nearing completion; ongoing projects at Duport road, Parker Paint road, Pipeline-Nezoe road, Logan Town-Mombo Town; the Caldwell Bridge to be constructed; and the National Housing Authority low- income housing projects in G-4 and Jartondo Towns.
The Liberian leader made numerous stops along the way, and was enthusiastically welcomed by citizens. She expressed satisfaction at the manner in which people turned out to welcome her.
Chatting with journalists following the tour, President Sirleaf expressed her satisfaction over the ongoing projects. The tour, she said, was intended to give her first-hand information on the state of the different projects and to ensure that work on them is intensified during the coming dry season.
While in the State of Kuwait, President Sirleaf joined fellow Heads of State and Government for the 3rd Africa-Arab Summit which focused on trade and investment issues that would impact positively on the peoples of the two regions.
She also held bilateral talks with the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah; while other members of her delegation met with authorities of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development to discuss Liberia's infrastructure deficit, with specific focus on ports and road development.
While in Kuwait, the Government of Liberia and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) signed a loan agreement valued at US$12 million to finance the Bushrod Power Generation Expansion Project, to provide affordable power to the Liberian people.
During her three-day working visit to the United Arab Emirates, the second leg of her tour, President Sirleaf met with the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. They agreed to establish a Joint Commission to pursue proposals on infrastructure, renewable energy, fisheries; and an invitation was extended to Emirates Airlines to begin flights to and from Liberia. The President reaffirmed Liberia's support for the emirate in hosting Dubai EXPO 2020. On November27, in Paris, Dubai won the bid to host this event. On hand for the announcement was Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan.
In Brussels, Belgium, President Sirleaf participated in the 8th European Development Days. On the margins of the forum, the Liberian leader held a series of bilateral meetings with: the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso; the Executive Director of the International Trade Center, Arancha Gonzalez; the Deputy Executive Director, United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), Aisa Kirabo Kacyira;the European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs; the European Union Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs; the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, among others.
President Sirleaf also was also the special guest speaker at the Annual Summit of the Women in Parliaments Global Forum, held at the European Parliament on Wednesday, November 27. Speaking on the topic of "Reshaping Society through Female Leadership," President Sirleaf said that the struggle which started many decades and continents ago for women's suffrage and empowerment was far from fulfilling its promise. Great strides had been made, however, and there was no turning back.